Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas in Japan

So.  On Saturday the 20th, we had the ward Christmas party.  There was
singing and guitar-playing and ocarina-playing and a shadow-puppet
show and delicious chicken and cake.

On Sunday the 21st, we went to an old folks' home and sang Christmas
carols and old Japanese songs.  One of the ward members dressed up as
Santa and gave presents to everyone.  Afterwards, the ward gave us
each a big box of presents from the ward.  Mostly candy.  ^___^

On Monday the 22nd, we all got sick.

On Tuesday the 23rd, I was the only one still sick.  I was well enough
to leave the apartment, but not well enough to eat a proper meal.  We
did P-day today instead of Monday because we were all too sick to do
our shopping on Monday.

On Wednesday the 24th, we all went up to Kichijoji for the
mission-wide Christmas conference.  We watched presentations by
President and Sister Wada, and then we all sang Christmas songs
together.  We all have the LDS Music app on our iPads, and some
Spanish-speaking missionaries in the mission, so they told us we could
pick whatever song in any language we wanted.  The entire Japan Tokyo
South Mission ended up singing Silent Night in German.  XP  After
that, we all got to watch Meet the Mormons!  (It's really good, I
highly recommend it~)  We had a white elephant gift party, too, in
which I got hot chocolate mix from the Czech Republic.  I haven't
tried it yet.

On Thursday the 25th, I got to skype with my family.  It was still
Christmas Eve where they were.  My Christmas package had arrived the
day before, so I got to open presents with them.  :D  Other than that,
it was a pretty standard day with weekly planning.  Japan doesn't take
a day off for Christmas; they just eat chicken and cake.  And go see
pretty lights sometime during the month.

Boxing Day passed without incident.

On Saturday the 27th, we met a drunk guy with a guitar.  He was like,
"hold on, I'll go get you some coffee", and Elder Parks was like, "We
don't drink coffee", so he said, "how about tea?" and Elder Parks
said, "We don't drink tea either," so he was like, "okay, I'll get you
some juice."  So he ran off (leaving us with his guitar and all his
other stuff) and came back with a warm lemon-honey drink for Elder
Parks.  We talked to him for a minute, and Elder Parks played that
guitar behind his head because he's really good at guitar, and then
this guy said to me, "hey, I'll go get you some coffee," and I was
like, "I don't drink coffee", and the guy said, "okay, how about tea?"
and I said, "no, I don't drink tea either", so he was like, "okay,
I'll get you some orange juice."  And then he ran off to 7-Eleven,
bought himself another beer, forgot to get the orange juice, and came
back and was like, "oh, I forgot the juice."  We had to leave at that
point, but we left a flier with him.  <shrug>

On Sunday the 28th (yesterday), we went to a fireside for Spanish and
Portuguese speakers.  Elder Soto (my MTC companion~!) interpreted it
into Japanese with the missions's radio interpretation kit, but there
weren't enough headsets for the missionaries, so I didn't understand
much of it.  I did sing Away in a Manger in Portuguese with my zone.
President Wada gave the closing remarks (in English, with three people
interpreting into three languages xP), in which he said he'd been
praying for a way for all of the South/Central American people here to
be able to hear the gospel in their own language.  I realized at that
point thatt's a miracle that the missionaries have been able to gather
these people together, strangers in a strange land.  I'm glad I got to
be there to see it.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Last night, my companion and I walked to the church after dinner, and there we saw a police car sitting in the parking lot.  (The church parking lot is not a normal place to see a police car!)  We walked in the front doors, and found a large gathering in the foyer: the other two elders, their investigator, our bishop and our ward mission leader, and two police officers who were getting everyone's names and addresses.  

Turns out that what happened is that while the other two elders were walking to the church before us, they stopped at a crosswalk because the light was red.  There was another guy standing next to them waiting for the same crosswalk, so they asked him how he was doing.  The guy responded that he was not doing well, he had no money, he was coming home from trying to jump off a bridge, and he was planning to kill himself at home.  And then he walked away, and then the elders called the police to go get him.

While the officers at the church were collecting everyone's information and the details of the story, they got a call from another officer who said they'd found the guy (still alive).  I suppose it turned out all right.  

A few days before, we had a lesson with a young man.  We taught him about our premortal family--how we all lived together and knew and loved each other before we were born.  He said it was a miracle that we met.  We taught him to pray (Alma 34:17-27), and he said his first prayer to Heavenly Father.  The Spirit filled our hearts with joy--and a testimony that God, too, was rejoicing to hear from His child again.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Season in Japan

So, transfer calls were today, and I'm staying in Atsugi with Elder Parks for another six weeks.  :3

We didn't do anything really interesting for Thanksgiving.  Japan just doesn't celebrate it.  Christmas lights started going up about a month ago.  I don't know how many people actually do anything special for Christmas Day here, but the stores are all doing Christmas decorations like American stores do.  They put up a Christmas tree at the church, too.  They also put colored plastic paper on the front doors to make it look like stained glass.  It looks really cool.  :3

The new year is a really big deal in Japan, but it'll be a few weeks before I know much about what goes on then...

These are the Christmas decorations they set up at the church.  Apparently the Primary added more decorations to the tree since I took these pictures, though...